TAIF: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Camel Festival began on Sunday at Taif Camel Square. This year’s event, the third festival to be held, will feature 532 races and a total prize pool of SR53 million ($14.1 million).
The festival seeks to promote the heritage of camel racing in Saudi Arabia and in Arab and Islamic culture, as well as support the Kingdom’s tourism and economic development; enhancing community participation, inculcating national heritage and reflecting the Kingdom’s cultural depth.
The event will also feature the Crown Prince’s Sword Award, worth SR1 million, to be awarded to the owner of the camel with the most points in the public runs during the festival.
The festival will start with an 11-day preliminary stage for all age groups featuring 320 races, a marathon that includes eight races and will culminate with 204 final races.
The past two years of the festival were great successes and marked a qualitative shift in the sport of camel racing, in its homeland and among its fans, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attending the closing ceremonies and awarding prizes to the winners.
The event has contributed to the Kingdom being the world’s first destination for camel sport, resulting in the establishment of an international camel federation headed by Saudi Arabia, based in Riyadh.
The festival has also featured the largest camel replica in the world, which was recognized by Guinness World Records in mid-2019.
The festival has generated great cultural and economic returns, and since its inception has achieved a number of world records.
It was judged the largest event of its kind in the world by Guinness World Records in 2018, having broken records after hosting 11,186 races along 787 routes.
In its second year, the festival set a new Guinness World Record after more than 13,377 camels participated in the event.